Learning About Rodent Pets

3 Safe Home Remedies for De-skunking a Dog

by Neil Turner

It's a nightmare every dog owner hopes never to face: the dog getting sprayed by a skunk. There's simply no way you can let the dog back in the house smelling like that, so the issue must be addressed rapidly. There are commercial products made to wash the skunk spray off dogs, but if your dog gets sprayed in the middle of the night or you live miles from a pet store, you might not have easy access to these. In cases such as these, the following home remedies will come in handy.

Tomato Juice

Tomato juice is perhaps the best-known de-skunking solution, and it does work—if you use it the right way. If you just pour the juice over your dog, it won't adhere well to the fur, and it won't do a very good job of de-skunking. Place your dog in a bathtub, get him soaking wet, and lather him up with dish soap—the dish soap helps cut through the oils in the skunk spray. Then, rinse the dog off with tomato juice. If you're short on tomato juice, you can mix it 50/50 with water to stretch it. Let your dog sit with the juice on him for about 10 minutes, and then towel him dry. Use old towels that you don't mind staining with tomato juice.


The acid in vinegar, similar to the acid in tomato juice, helps cut the skunk smell. The best way to give your dog a vinegar bath is to fill a tub with warm water, and then add  2–3 gallons of white vinegar. Put the dog in the bath, wet him down, and let him sit in there for as long as he's comfortable. Twenty minutes is ideal if you can manage it. Then, lather your dog up with dish soap, and rinse with more vinegar water.

Baking Soda

This remedy needs to be paired with either the tomato juice or vinegar remedy. It helps absorb any lingering skunk odors. Wait until your dog is almost dry, but still a little damp. Then, coat his coat with as much baking soda as will stick. Let your dog finish drying; the baking soda will absorb lingering skunk odors. When your dog is completely dry—and after waiting a few hours—you can brush the baking soda out of his coat.

Getting rid of skunk scent can take a while. You may have to repeat these remedies two or three times, so be patient. If your dog is still stinky the next day, you can take him or her to a groomer, who can use professional-grade de-skunking products to remove the odor more thoroughly. For more information on getting rid of skunks for good, contact resources like Animal Control Specialists Inc.